As “Bombay Lawyers” makes waves, Anuj Kumar meets actress Meeta Vashisht
Her name evokes memories of the days when the word, ‘meaningful’ had not lost its dictionary meaning in the world of entertainment. And with Bombay Lawyers on NDTV India, Meeta Vashisht is trying to salvage lost ground. The series covers some of the most interesting and inspiring legal cases. It raises ethical questions, like what is to be done by ordinary people who are terrorised by gangsters, because the protectors of the law are hand-in-glove with the anti-social elements? Do they silently bear the rapes, the brutal murders or do they defend themselves by fighting back and taking the law in their hands?
“It’s a refreshing change reminding me of the good old days when the stories used to have a beginning, a middle and an end. And since the series is on a news channel, the makers have taken special care not to trivialise the issue. The cases, the people, the issues are real but in the emotional grammar of fiction. One of the things that makes the series interesting is that it has been conceived as a double track narration, where two cases unfold as parallel story lines, and somewhere down the line they meet.”
Meeta, who feels all the cases have social and political ramifications, says she didn’t do any special preparation to play the part of the lawyer. “One of my most significant roles in commercial cinema was of a lawyer in Ghulam. So I had some inkling on how to play Aparna, the head of the law firm.”
Describing the character, Meeta says, “She is not your usual hot-headed lawyer. She doesn’t carry a chip on her shoulder that she is the boss but at the same time once in a while she makes it known who holds the authority…very much like Dilip Kumar’s ‘takhliya’ in Mughal-e-Azam.” Meeta bursts into laughter.
Known for her intense roles, few know this product of National School of Drama has a lighter side as well. “I laugh on life. My friends find my views on female sexuality hilarious. In fact, now I am doing a comedy called Rafoo Chakkar.”
Talking of female sexuality, Meeta brought it out with honesty through her dual character of Sharon/Sakshi in Oops! “It is true, because the issue of female sexuality has hardly been addressed by our filmmakers. In fact, I got reviews where critics felt that script should have been written through the perspective of my character rather then focussing on male strippers.”
In between, it seems Meeta had fallen to commercial compulsions by accepting Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki.
“The role suited me and I asked Ekta (Kapoor) not to use all those shocking editing tools on me. I am thankful to her that she agreed. And the result showed. For the first time the series surpassed Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi in TRP ratings. But there is a personal reason as well why the series worked well for me.” Meeta elaborates, “Years of work in parallel cinema didn’t give me as much popularity as this series has. My father was involved in a long-drawn court case with the landlord who was using all the dirty tricks to intimidate him. Once I was noticed in Kahani…the man came around for out-of-court settlement.”